Photos: Geoff Mintz / Ski Racing Media
GRANBY RANCH, Colo .– There is a new force to be reckoned with on the World Pro Ski Tour and its name is Drew Duffy.
The recent 26-year-old Dartmouth graduate emerged victorious in race two of the 2021-22 series on Sunday at the Granby Ranch.
After his WPST debut on Saturday, in which he missed the podium by just a few hundredths of a second, Duffy set the fastest time in Sunday’s qualifying heats, earning himself a pass in the first playoff round. He then summarily eliminated seasoned parallel slalom athletes Tucker Marshall and Simon Breitfuss Kammerlander. Finding himself in the semi-finals, he faced Olympian Nolan Kasper, who won the opening race of the WPST season on Saturday after beating two-time overall round champion Rob Cone.
Cone and Kasper faced off in the quarterfinals on Sunday, throwing each other out of the starting gate in expertly timed unison. Kasper somehow found a speed that Cone couldn’t on the intermediate and final sections of the course, however, edging out Cone by about a tenth of a second in each race.
Kasper maintained his advantage by throwing himself in from the start on the last lap against Duffy. Although they were the only two athletes in the whole field who seemed to find speed on the relatively flat course, Duffy found more, making up for lost time at the start to cross the finish line by hundredths of a second longer. faster than Kasper.
âAt the start of this second run, it was only four hundredths of a second. I was joking with Nolan going up, like it’s still tied, winner takes it all here. I just kept that mentality. I thought to myself why not go as hard as possible? There is no other choice, âsaid Duffy, adding that the fact that Kasper and Cone were ahead of him from the start fueled his motivation to find speed elsewhere.
âI was expecting each of these guys to be up front so I figured I had to do whatever I could to catch up on the course,â said Duffy. âThere was speed to be had. I was trying to hone my inner skills in super G and downhill. I think it paid off to go on the jumps and straighten them out as quickly as possible, on top of working the flats and putting my foot in the grooves.
Cone said he couldn’t figure out how to use similar tactics until his last two innings, in which he was already making the small final.
âNolan did it, Drew did too,â Cone said. âI was slow to understand and that’s what got me third place. They really pump it up, juicing their skis from tip to tail. On the contrary, I was trying to fly low and be aerodynamic, I was trying to be a little more subtle while working the skis. It worked yesterday, but today it was a little different.
Kasper emerged as the big winner of the weekend, pocketing a total of over $ 14,000 after his victory on Saturday and second place on Sunday.
âIt’s a matter of heart, determination and resilience,â he said. “I learned a lot from this having had seven surgeries over six years of my career.”
Duffy didn’t expect to make $ 12,000 for the weekend, but he already has clear plans for how he’ll spend it.
“I bought a quite expensive flight to go to Italy at Christmas and visit my girlfriend [World Cup racer Nina OâBrien]”Duffy said.” I have a bunch of student loans I could invest in, maybe buy some cute Christmas presents for my parents. They’re probably excited because they weren’t getting anything before.
The World Pro Ski Tour continues into 2022 with men’s and women’s head-to-head races in Aspen January 8-9, Howelsen Hill in Steamboat February 14-15, and finals in Taos, New Mexico in April. .